An analysis of census data has found that the proportion of Australians who own their homes outright has substantially dropped in the past 10 years.
The same analysis shows a corresponding increase in the proportion of people still paying off their loans.
The Adelaide University demographer who researched the data says more baby boomers are heading towards retirement with a home loan still hanging over their heads.
"In 2001, 41 per cent of the population actually owned the house they were living in, but it was down to less than a third by 2011, it was down to 32 per cent," Graeme Hugo said.
Professor Hugo says more people are renting and mortgages are taking longer to pay off.
"The proportion of the population that were actually still purchasing their house increased from 27 per cent in 2001 to 35 per cent in 2011," he said.
"When you take that into account and add together the people who own their own house outright and those that are purchasing it, there is still a smaller proportion of the population now who own or are purchasing." He says figures for baby boomers are particularly interesting.
The rate of people in their early 60s who have paid off the bank has dropped from almost 75 per cent to just over 50 per cent.
"When we're talking about people staying in the workforce longer and putting off retirement and so on, we tend to think of it in terms of people putting away for retirement and accumulating savings," Mr Hugo said.
"In fact, a quarter of them are still paying off their mortgage." Greg Moulton from the Real Estate Institute of South Australia says attitudes regarding home ownership have changed.
"People have changed," he said.
"[They say] 'look, owning a home is great [but] it is not the be all and end all'.
"I still think people like the security of their own home, but they are not in as big a hurry to get one and they're obviously not in as big a hurry to pay it off."